UNC | Vienna, VA | Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
In what way has your experience as a Robertson Scholar challenged you the most?
I think the biggest "impact" of the Robertson program is that it constantly challenges me to be better and to think bigger about what I can achieve — mostly by surrounding me with fellow scholars who are also dreaming big and doing big things. It's inspiring to learn from them and be friends with them, and they push me to be better as well. (At first, I thought this answer was strange because it's not programmatic — but I think I've realized that the programmatic elements are an important part of it because they facilitate and encourage these relationships between scholars, especially in different years, that drove me to be better.)
Please share an example of how one of your summer experiences impacted your leadership.
Community summer was a really powerful lesson about living in a community outside my own experience and developing empathy for the experiences of others, which I definitely would not have learned had I not spent the summer in the Mississippi Delta. It was an even greater contrast once I spent the next two summers in New York City — I realized how much my experience in Cleveland taught me about America, the South, and myself, and how that experience was different from so many fellow journalism interns and young people who went to elite colleges and never spent much time out of the big-city elite-school bubble.
If you had one piece of advice for future Robertson Scholars, what would it be?
I wish I had spent more time at Duke early in my college career, since I only really got involved there during Switch. To this day, many of the professors I'm closest with come from Duke, and I wish I had found ways to engage with that campus even more during my four years.
Anything else you want us to know?
I owe a huge thanks and tons of gratitude to you, the staff, over the last four years — you've all been important mentors, helpers, and friends. This program wouldn't be the same without you, and I don't think y'all get thanked enough for all you do. So thank you, and I can't wait to see you again when I'm back in town for Graduation!